Can McDonald’s stick to a consistent turnaround strategy?

I commented a couple of months ago about McDonald’s struggles to simplify its menu and thus its operations. Today the BrainTrust panel at RetailWire reflects on some “customization” tests going on in Sydney. I believe McD’s needs to get more focused, not less:

I still believe that menu complexity is McDonald’s biggest issue in the U.S. Its brand positioning should continue to stand for “consistent, affordable and fast.” So a touch-screen offering more customization — instead of fewer choices — is not a solution to the problem. Neither is the wait time added by having meals brought to the table, Culvers-style. (And just picture the breakdowns at the drive-through lane.)

Most of the operating improvements discussed recently by McDonald’s are focused exactly in the right place — narrowing the assortment of food offerings and simplifying the operation. Trying to squeeze into the increasingly crowded brand space of the “better burger” chains would not be the right move.

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